This rebranding reflects the vision of Stephen Bird, the current CEO who took over in September 2020 following the scrapping of the prior co-CEO structure. As part of a companywide review, he saw a name change as part of taking on a new identity, as previously there had been five different brand names operating independently. However, Bird sees the future being aligned under three interrelated areas: global asset management(investments), technology platforms for UK financial advisors and their customers(advisor), and UK savings and wealth(personal).
The combined group is a diversified asset-management business with over 1,200 investment professionals servicing clients globally with assets under management of GBP 376 billion (as of 31 Dec 2022). The group has a wide range of investment capabilities, the majority of which are within equities, fixed income, and multi-asset. There are also significant operations in private markets, cash/liquidity, and real estate. Bird took the helm from prior co-heads Martin Gilbert and Keith Skeoch, who had legacy ties to both sides of the business. Bird joined from Citigroup, where he was most recently CEO of global consumer banking. Now that investment processes have been integrated, duplication removed, and manager turnover has settled down, the focus needs to be on consolidating their offerings and focusing on key strengths. Meanwhile, although the transition period appears to be over, the group is struggling with outflows in many of its franchise teams. Although, in equities at least, this is somewhat due to the style bias of quality growth working against Abrdn, the firm acknowledges some style drift into growth, which it aims to counteract by hiring new CIO Peter Branner in February 2023, although time will tell if this can be turned around. Retaining talent, embedding a culture, and delivering on performance are key milestones from here, so the firm retains its Parent Pillar of Average.